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Exhibit At Eastern State Penitentiary Sparks Conversation About US Incarcerations

(credit: John McDevitt)

(credit: John McDevitt)

John McDevitt John McDevitt
John McDevitt has been a reporter and editor at KYW Newsradio 1060...
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By John McDevitt

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site has a new permanent exhibit to spark conversation about incarceration.

On the baseball diamond of the old prison is a 16 foot high, 30 foot long, metal 3-D information graphic. It resembles a piece of sculpture. One section features prison stats from 1900 to 2010.

Eastern State’s director of public programming Sean Kelley says it shows a nearly 600 percent growth in number of US prisoners over the past 40 years.

“Our visitors typically when we talk about this start asking ‘Why? Why do we put so many people in prison? And is it the behavior of Americans or is it the nature of the laws here? Which is it?’ And of course it’s a little bit of both, but there is no solid answer. We don’t take a position on this except to say this is a historic moment.”

Charts that show race and world incarceration rates are also featured in the giant graph.

The United States has the highest amount of people in prison, second is Rwanda.